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 Post subject: Moderating a Forum (not this one)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 10:48 pm 
Third Jedi from the Left
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I'd like to get some opinions from those who moderate forums, either here or elsewhere.

I'll be running for an office and one of the tasks I'll have (if I win) will be to oversee the discussion forums for the group. Before I even get to the actual election, though, I have to come up with my position on board moderation.

A bit of background for the board I'm going to be working with:

Sadly, it's a very rabid board. Legitimate questions cannot be asked without someone jumping on the one posing the question. For example, I asked a simple question about an e-mail the group was to receive on Dec. 20 regarding a new way of doing the election nominations and voting. We haven’t received the e-mail yet, and it was more than a week past due, and nominations begin in less than a week. Seemed like a legitimate question and it was posed in a straightforward way.

The next person to respond posted a picture of a "cloak and dagger" type scene with the caption "CONSPIRACY."

It has been a long-running problem with members of that board: A question is asked and a certain portion of our population thinks anybody who wants information is a conspiracy theorist. So, obviously, the implication was that I was implying some sort of conspiracy because I asked for an update on the new nomination/election process.

Our leader replied next with a factual answer.

In short, a simple question followed by a simple answer, with a slam against the original poster (me) stuck in between. The subsequent posts (by other people) continued down the path of flaming. It's frankly quite tiresome and has driven many, many members away from the boards.

I want to help "clean up the boards," but I am unsure exactly how to moderate a situation like that, as it happens in almost every thread that's started on our boards. (No, I'm not exaggerating.)

What course of action would you, as moderator, take when moderating flame wars and/or out-right rude comments from people in places they, frankly, don't belong?

I'm not opposed to people having debates, but we simply don't have debates. We CAN'T have them. ALL discussion is derailed by the flames. The problem we have is that our moderators/leaders either do nothing to stop it or actually (often) contribute to the problem.

I'm not sure I would want to delete people's messages, but I feel there needs to be a much better method of moderation which will, eventually, teach people the "proper" way to treat others. But what is that "better method of moderation"?



I've seen how WotC has moderated. Locked or deleted threads that go against some overly vague CoC. Banning people for inconsistent and lame reasons. I don't want to go that route.

Nor do I want to let people run roughshod over other members of the group.

I'm guessing some sort of CoC needs to be established and a warning system in place. Also, supposing I do make a CoC and warning system...what do you do to posts that violate the CoC? Do you leave them? Edit them? Delete them? Mark them as "warning sent"?


But I'm open to any and all suggestions. Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Moderating a Forum (not this one)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 12:52 am 
Jedi Council
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On the board I modded moderators had the option of deleting an individual post, Deleteing the entire thread, closing the entire thread, Splitting a single thread into two seprate threads, or combining two threads into one. In cases like what you're describing I'd have split the flame posts off into thier own seperate thread and then deleted that thread. If mods can't do that on that board you'll have to make do with deleting the individual posts.

In general if you have some sort of CoC set up I'd say delete posts as needed. If a particular user continues to be a problem give him a warning. If they continue to be a PITA ban them. Temp or perm depending on the site.

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 Post subject: Re: Moderating a Forum (not this one)
PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 9:47 am 
Master of the Order
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Have to agree with Homer_sapien for the most part.

Establishing a CoC sounds like the first course of action. You really don't have any basis for disciplining people, or editing/deleting their posts without a CoC in place. Even if it's something as simple as "No flaming, baiting, trolling, etc...." it would be enough for you to control those types of situations without getting crap from people about editing stuff.

And situations that devolve like you described above HAVE to be nipped in the bud. If it goes for more than a couple posts, a moderator should quickly post just a "Hey, stay on topic, and quit flaming guys, or don't post at al" and if they don't return to proper posting, then you start editing/deleting things. Sending a PM to the person who's thread you just edited/deleted is always important (or sometimes, it's better to send it ahead of time) so that they know WHY it happened.

You may find that if the forums are disruptive enough, it may be necessary to impose some pretty strict rules for a while to sift out the trouble-makers. Once things settle down more, things will start to relax and won't feel so tightly controlled. This is sort of what went on with the clonetroopers.net forums over the last couple years. They were pretty bad at one point, but have finally started to shape up nicely.

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 Post subject: Re: Moderating a Forum (not this one)
PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 3:34 pm 
Jedi Council
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dnemiller wrote:

Second I am not for the banning of folks... although someone eventually will probably force the issue.



Permanant bans should be a last resort type of thing. Temporary bans are good though. Then you can use the 24 or 48 hour ban as a sort of final warning before you break out the permi ban. Too bad I can't remember what it entailed, but back on my old board they added in an extra user type besides Reguler User, Mod, Turk (supermod), Admin. There was a seldom used level below Reguler User, the name of which I can't post since there's no swearing here. Basicly they weren't banned, but they'd have a lot of trouble on the site.

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 Post subject: Re: Moderating a Forum (not this one)
PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 6:37 pm 
Third Jedi from the Left
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Thanks, everyone, for your input.


dnemiller wrote:
Just out of curisousity is this like a 501st legion board?


Yup. I'm running for Florida Garrison Commanding Officer. (It's official now, so I can say it.) There's four of us in the running now, and it's only been 19 hours since nominations started. Looks like a busy election.


LoboStele wrote:
You may find that if the forums are disruptive enough, it may be necessary to impose some pretty strict rules for a while to sift out the trouble-makers. Once things settle down more, things will start to relax and won't feel so tightly controlled.


Good idea. I don't want to be a jerk about things, but people have gotten away with murder for over a year now...and in particular the last several months. People have dropped from the boards because they're afraid to post. I want people to come back and feel comfortable. I definitely encourage debate and don't mind if people have disagreements, but the flaming must stop.

I checked and there is currently no CoC *at all* for the board. So, there absoutely has to be one made.

Also, I can't ban a person from the board totally, no matter how much they screw up. The boards are the only way we have to communicate events. I'm thinking along the line of a tiered warning system, where people are banned from posting (but not reading) for a number of days/weeks/months.


dnemiller wrote:
I also dont like deleting threads

have you COC spell things out and then use the edit function if you have to.... when I edit something that is inflammatory

I state that I edited it for the reason... Thread Locking is also an option... I prefer edit as my perosnal preference.



I don't like the idea of deleting posts or threads, either. Quite frankly, I'm not interested in censorship at all.

Though, I do think adding a "CoC violation, warning has been sent" notice on a given post shows the members that something has been addressed and then I/the other mods can privately PM the poster to explain specifically what the problem was and give them the option of editing their own post. I don't mind if they leave something unedited, but then they'll keep the warning.

Of course, maybe that's just too much bother and not a good way of going about things. (I have two weeks to figure it all out before the Q&A begins and we start revealing our positions on things.)


dnemiller wrote:
If there is anything any of the mods here can do to help you we are always glad to help a fellow SWM nut!!!!


Thanks. 8)


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 Post subject: Re: Moderating a Forum (not this one)
PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 6:46 pm 
Death Star Designers
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If there is no CoC, then you are going to have some issues reigning them in. From the sounds of it, it sounds like you are going to try and establish some order where there wasn't any previously. Good luck with that.

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 Post subject: Re: Moderating a Forum (not this one)
PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 9:42 pm 
Third Jedi from the Left
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Sithborg wrote:
If there is no CoC, then you are going to have some issues reigning them in. From the sounds of it, it sounds like you are going to try and establish some order where there wasn't any previously. Good luck with that.


Yes, I'll need all the luck I can get establishing order. :P

There are now eight people nominated for the C.O. position. It'll definitely be an interesting race.

Of course, if I don't win...then there won't be an issue for me to solve. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Moderating a Forum (not this one)
PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 10:18 pm 
Moff Disra
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Xffan_2000 wrote:
I'm running for Florida Garrison Commanding Officer. (It's official now, so I can say it.) There's four of us in the running now, and it's only been 19 hours since nominations started. Looks like a busy election.

Flordia election... Let me know if I can help in counting the Chads, Freds or Mikes. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Moderating a Forum (not this one)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 8:34 am 
Master of the Order
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Xffan_2000 wrote:
Yes, I'll need all the luck I can get establishing order. :P

There are now eight people nominated for the C.O. position. It'll definitely be an interesting race.

Of course, if I don't win...then there won't be an issue for me to solve. :wink:



Yikes, that's a lot! I'm not sure if we'll even have anyone challenging our current CO here in Ohio, lol. I would definitely think that meeting (virtual or in-person, depending on feasability of that) with the rest of the command staff and establishing the CoC would be both a good place to start, and a good thing to put in your 'platform'. Everyone should recognize the value of having a solid Code of Conduct.

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